Gina Lollobrigida, Italian film siren of the 1950s, dies at 95

The Italian movie industry after World War II was a juggernaut that competed alongside Hollywood as one of the world’s leading exporters of films. Grittily poetic works such

as Roberto Rossellini’s “Rome, Open City” and Vittorio De Sica’s “Bicycle Thieves” were masterpieces of neorealism that turned themes of deprivation and desperation into high art.

But when Time magazine examined the might of Italian film production in 1954, it did not put Rossellini or De Sica on the cover. Instead it featured Gina Lollobrigida, a

ruby-lipped bombshell encased in clinging gowns, whose presence in comedies, romances and adventures powered a rebellion against neorealism. Ms. Lollobrigida, who died

Jan. 16 in Rome at 95, was for a time an international sensation with few equals. In the estimation of actor Humphrey Bogart, her allure made “Marilyn Monroe look like

Shirley Temple.” Life magazine called “La Lollo” — as she was nicknamed — “the most fetching argument ever advanced for liberal immigration policies.” For New York Times movie

critic Bosley Crowther, she was “the original Italian over-stuffed star,” a pneumatic precursor to Sophia Loren, who would soon be ensconced in the public imagination as the

quintessential Italian sex goddess. Ms. Lollobrigida (pronounced lo-lo-BRIDGE-eeh-dah) was among the European screen beauties, along with Brigitte Bardot and Anita

Ekberg, whose charms stirred the fantasies of a generation of moviegoers.